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It’s Friday media availability time, folks! Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Teresa Frankovich sat down once again today to respond to queries from local reporters. 

She began today with an update on the county’s reopening procedures. The governor’s office is providing guidance on how counties may go about reopening the remaining non-operational sectors of the economy, she said. This guidance allows the local community to plan.

Governor Gavin Newsom was expected, at some point today, to release new guidance for a host of sectors, including schools, campgrounds, hotels, bars, pro sports (without an audience), wineries, gyms, zoos, museums and more. 

“We have not seen the guidances yet,” Frankovich said. Nor had the Outpost by the time this post was published, but the Associated Press offered a preview of sorts. The next phase in reopening is expected to be put off until at least June 12, she said, and the public can expect these businesses and facilities to look different, considering the extra safety procedures required.

Below is a list of the questions posed by media today along with summaries of Frankovich’s answers.

There are new studies showing inflammatory conditions and organ damage in people who have recovered from COVID-19. Is the county’s Public Health branch tracking the long-term effects on residents who contract this virus? (3:27)

While many people have very mild illness, some have had cardiac or kidney or even neurologic issues related to this virus, Frankovich said. That’s what makes it all the more important for the most vulnerable to remain “out of the mix” as much as possible. 

As for follow-up, she said that sort of thing is not normally done by local public health, but rather via clinical research projects most ofted conducted through academic centers. 

Can you please describe what kinds of self care and treatment you recommend to anyone experiencing symptoms of the disease? (5:07)

The symptoms are wide-ranging and can include respiratory illness, gastrointestinal symptoms, fever, sore throat, headache, muscle aches and more. Treat those symptoms with whatever over-the-counter remedies apply, if the case is mild. 

“The other piece, I think, is people need to be aware of when they’re feeling worse,” she said. Feeling short of breath and uncomfortable are important indicators that you need to be seen by a health care provider, especially if you have underlying symptoms.  

“We do know with this illness that some people may feel pretty good but actually have a low oxygen level,” she added. 

Has the Optum site (a testing facility located at Redwood Acres) been able to test to capacity on a daily basis, and at this point how many tests can it run per day? (6:36)

It’s capable of collecting 132 samples per day, but the testing itself is run off-site, Frankovich said. The facility is typically running at more than 85 percent capacity, “so we’re really happy about at that but of course we would love it at 100 percent.”

She encourages everyone to get tested, though she added that no one needs to be tested more often than once every couple of weeks. A link to the website where you can schedule a test is right here. Alternatively, you can call 888-634-1123.